The Paradox of our times

O' Reilly's note on his special Valentine goes beyond what's said to explain attitudes prevalent. Though the note's restricted to a li'l girl and what she does, it can safely be extrapolated to understand existing attitudes among the young.

'But the tech revolution has also made it easier for Madeline to escape from reality. The machines allow her to avoid thinking about problems and solutions. With a flick of a finger, Madeline can enter a fantasy world where she doesn't have to think about bad things or work out complicated situations. She can play emotional hide-and-not-seek all day long.'

In many ways the need to 'avoid thinking about problems and solutions' manifests itself in a desire for a Messiah. Someone who can fix everything without anyone having to move a muscle. That desire is why Obama won. No kidding, that's why. Remember the lady saying Obama is going to pay for my gas and mortgage!?

The sad part about waiting for the messiah is, there isn't one coming. If one does appear on the horizon, get ready for a huckster who's going to take you for a ride.

The paradox of our times is the coexistence of cognitive engagement that can be mapped on either extremes of a continuum. One end that signifies acute activity and the other, zilch. People on the acute end are the ones slaving over solutions of tomorrow. In arenas from the political to social to business. In them lies our hope for a better future. In the consumer world, unfortunately that means solutions that will make the rest of us lazier.

The choice for every person is stark. To either take the problem-solution conundrum head on, or to wait and be a passive recipient to solutions that others design. As a professor, I prefer my classroom be filled with the former. Now that may turn it into one that's a beehive of synthesis that can't at times be controlled, but hell, that's exactly what I want!



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